Key cardinal rebukes pope over abuse comment in rare move


January 20, 2018

By Philip Pullella and Caroline Stauffer

A key U.S. cardinal distanced himself on Saturday from comments by Pope Francis on sexual abuse, saying they had caused “great pain,” a remarkable move pointing to divisions in the Roman Catholic Church over how to treat accusers.

The implicit public rebuke of the pope by one of his top advisers came after two days of pointed attacks from victims and their advocates, and was another setback for Francis’ attempts to come to grips with sexual abuse in the Church.

Cardinal Sean O‘Malley of Boston said in an unusually blunt statement that “it is understandable” that the pope’s comments in Chile on Thursday were “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy or any other perpetrator.”

* * *

O‘Malley’s statement on the pope’s choice of language said: “Words that convey the message ‘if you cannot prove your claims, then you will not be believed’ abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.